OSU Tops Aztecs, Completes Weekend Sweep

October 4, 2015

Corvallis, Ore. – Jaime Velasco atoned for a missed penalty kick in the best possible fashion on Sunday.

And as a result of Velasco’s handiwork, the Oregon State men’s soccer team earned its first home sweep of a Pacific-12 Conference weekend series in four years with a 1-0 victory over San Diego State before a crowd of 527 at Lorenz Field.

A senior from Beaverton who transferred from Portland for the 2014 season, Velasco knocked home Nathan Braaten’s perfect crossing pass at 47:00 to send the Beavers (7-3-0, 2-0-0 Pac-12) ahead 1-0. The defense then stymied the Aztecs (4-6-0, 0-2-2) the rest of the way.

Velasco missed a penalty kick wide-left in the first half after being taken down in the box. He didn’t misfire on his next opportunity, however, set up by Braaten’s theft of a pass near midfield just moments into the second half.

“They were trying to transition pass and Nathan stole the ball,” Velasco said in recounting the goal. “I saw he was on a breakaway, but the defender stepped to him.

“I just kept running. The ball came my way and I just finished it. It definitely wasn’t easy, because [scoring] hasn’t been easy for me all year.

“I hope now to just keep it rolling. We want people to fear coming to Lorenz. We want to keep a clean sheet here.”

OSU began its perfect weekend on Friday with a 1-0, double-overtime win over UCLA. Coupled with Sunday’s shutout, it did not concede a goal in 200 minutes as keeper Nolan Wirth notched his fourth and fifth shutouts.

“What you saw this weekend was maturity in process," said Oregon State head coach Steve Simmons. "We are young. We don’t use that as an excuse but nothing substitutes for experience. What you saw today was players responding [after] some things don’t go your way.”

He used Velasco as a perfect example of that bounce-back mentality.

“I’ve known him since he was a little kid, we go way back,” Simmons said.  “He’s so hungry to score because he’s a finisher. That’s why I have him as a PK-taker.

“It was like a knife stuck in his back” when he missed. “But you have to take the knife out, and get going. That’s what he did. He gave himself a chance to win the game for us.

“He took the good and the bad and came out with the good. That was a big-time play for him because it symbolized what this weekend was for us.”

It was OSU’s first conference home sweep since Oct. 21-23, 2011, when it knocked off California and Stanford. The win kept the Beavers atop the Pac-12 with six points.

“Points are precious,” Simmons said. “It’s the most wide-open conference I’ve seen in a long time.”

The Beavers resume Pac-12 play at 3:30 p.m. Friday at California in a game to be televised by Pac-12 Networks. They play another Pac-12 Networks game at Stanford at 1 p.m. Sunday.

For more information on the Oregon State men’s soccer team, follow the club’s official Twitter account at Twitter.com/OSUBeavers_MSOC.

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